Sunday, May 03, 2015

Pop Law & Cultural Legal Studies



Cassandra Sharp and Marett Leiboff (eds.)
Cultural legal studies: law's popular cultures and the metamorphosis of law
Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY, 2015, 336 pp.
ISBN: 9781138801066

What can law’s popular cultures do for law, as a constitutive and interrogative critical practice? This collection explores such a question through the lens of the ‘cultural legal studies’ movement, which proffers a new encounter with the ‘cultural turn’ in law and legal theory. Moving beyond the ‘law ands’ (literature, humanities, culture, film, visual and aesthetics) on which it is based, this book demonstrates how the techniques and practices of cultural legal studies can be used to metamorphose law and the legalities that underpin its popular imaginary. By drawing on three different modes of cultural legal studies – storytelling, technology and jurisprudence – the collection showcases the intersectional practices of cultural legal studies, and law in its popular cultural mode.
The contributors to the collection deploy differentiated modes of cultural legal studies practice, adopting diverse philosophical, disciplinary, methodological and theoretical approaches and subjects of examination. The collection draws on this mix of diversity and homogeneity to thread together its overarching theme: that we must take seriously an interrogation of law as culture and in its cultural form. That is, it does not ask how a text ‘represents’ law; but rather how the representational nature of both law and culture intersect so that the ‘juridical’ become visible in various cultural manifestations. In short, it asks: how law’s popular cultures actively effect the metamorphosis of law.

PART I: Cultural Legal Studies – The Urgency of Method and Story

1. Cultural Legal Studies and Law’s Popular Cultures, Marett Leiboff & Cassandra Sharp
2. Cultural Legal Studies as Law’s Extroversion, Marett Leiboff 3. Finding Stories of Justice in the Art of Conversation: Ethnography in Cultural Legal Studies, Cassandra Sharp

PART II: Cultural Legal Studies as Legal Storytelling
4. Interventions into the Feeling of Popular Justice: Australia’s Stolen Generations, the Problem of Sentimentality, and Re-Encountering the Testimonial Form, Honni Van Rijswijk
5. Border Crossings: The Transnational Career of the Television Crime Drama, Sue Turnbull
6. Theatre and the Law in the 21st Century, Peter Robson

PART III: Law’s Technologies and Cultural Legal Studies

7. Picturing Justice in a Fraught Legal Arena: Fetus, Phantoms and Mandatory Ultrasounds, Jessica Silbey
8. Peeping: Open Justice and Law’s Voyeurs, Katherine Biber
9. Irony as Method: Reframing Photographs in Cultural Legal Studies, Karen Crawley
10. Bodies, Cinema, Sovereignty: Using Visual Culture Methodologies to Think About Other Ways that Law Might Work, Kirsty Duncanson

PART IV: Cultural Legal Studies as Jurisprudence

11. Popular Culture’s Lex Vampirica: The Law of the Undead in True Blood, the Twilight Sagaand The Passage, William Macneil
12. Reading the Law Made Strange: Cultural Legal Studies, Theology and Speculative Fiction, Timothy D Peters
13. Republicanism Meets (Dystopian) Faërie: Harry Potter and the Institutional Disaster, Luis Gómez Romero


Cassandra Sharp's research draws on a range of disciplinary methods to empirically explore individual responses to law. Her focus is the use of popular stories by individuals in challenging and constructing legal meaning and identity. She is a member of the Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC) at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
Marett Leiboff is a cultural legal studies and law and humanities scholar who is working on a monograph that explores theatrical jurisprudence. Her scholarship is grounded in her pre-law background in academic theatre studies. Marett is a member of the Legal Intersections Research Centre, University of Wollongong, Australia.

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